Summer Flowers and Summer Chores

Two selections of cone flowers are great for summer.

Watering is necessary during dry periods but not over watering.

This time of the year my flower border becomes all yellow. Cutleaf (the tall ones) and Goldsturm (the massing ones) dominate the garden for several weeks. Why? Two reasons, they are easy to grow, and they can take the heat without constant watering. I have grown these for many years, and I must say that a single color yellow floral display suits me fine. My late spring early summer garden was one of mixed pastel colors, and my fall garden will transition from the pink naked ladies popping up as the coneflowers wane to purple, blue and fall colors. When I say these coneflowers are easy to grow it is because the Goldsturm reseed, and I am always giving seedlings away almost any time of the year. In fact, I have some potted now to give a friend, and if kept watered they will make a show next year no matter when planted. As for the cutleaf type, I divide the clumps in late winter and give away plants that way. I really think dividing or thinning the clumps helps produce more flowers in my garden.
At this time of the year, I always have watering on my mind when it comes to gardening. First, if we have rain, and right now we are in a rain cycle, don’t run you sprinkler during wet periods. It is not good for the turf or your garden plants. Also, if you are running your sprinkler system because it is dry, water early in the morning or late after sunset. Container watering is not as easy as you think, if you want the best for the containerized plants. If we have a good rain, do not water unless the soil in the container is dry to the touch below the soil line. On hot non-rainly days look at the soil in the pot. If it is still wet from a previous watering, reduce the amount you usually water. If the soil looks very dry and the plants are starting to wilt, increase the amount of watering. This will levelize the moisture in the containers, and even moisture is a good thing for potted plants. Now is also a good time to remove spent flowers, cut back stems that are wayward and don’t have flowers or leaves, and liquid feed at half the recommended rate on the package.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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